2020 has been quite an unexpected year for all of us, and the main factor behind all of that is none other than…*drum roll*... COVID-19. Besides all the health precautions, the pandemic has impacted the start of the new decade in many different ways. Whether these impacts are positive or negative are up to your own discretion, but I think we can all agree that 2020 was an absolute craze. In this article, I will be giving you a recap of how COVID-19 has shaped global society, as well as the steps we could be taking now in order to reach a more promising future.
[bf_image id="pqgjqpp6pzwnbfw7khfzhrcr"] On Dec. 31, 2019, the first cases of COVID-19 were reported in Wuhan, China. During the White House press briefing on March 18, 2020, former President Trump named coronavirus as the “Chinese virus”, addressing it in a xenophobic way that led many to feel the same sentiment. Since then, Asian Americans of all ethnicities have been targeted by racist remarks and attacks, being blamed for supposedly bringing the virus from China to the U.S.
At the same time, many businesses, both large and small, were forced to close down. During the first few months of the pandemic, the industries that were the most negatively impacted include, but are not limited to: hospitality, travel, and food. In April 2020, the unemployment rate peaked at 14.8%, which is a considerably high level that has not been seen since 1948, when the Great Depression was in occurrence.
The mental health of many has also been deeply influenced by the pandemic. According to a KFF Tracking Poll from mid-July, 53% of adults in the U.S. claim that their mental health has been negatively affected because of worry and stress over COVID-19, mainly due to isolation and job loss. Some of the impacts people experienced include difficulty sleeping, difficulty eating, and increases in alcohol use and/or substance use.
[bf_image id="qg2f0y-awgq9c-cgbeqx"] Lastly, most of us college students may find ourselves struggling with the same thing: social life. Some of you may be freshmen, and the expectations you had entering college might not have been the same as reality. There are also some of you who are seniors, and several, if not all, of your graduation plans may have been canceled or modified. Regardless of where you’re at in the social situation, we’re all linked together by the same guidelines and patterns. When you’re outside, you’re required to wear a mask and practice social distancing. Gatherings are limited to ten people, and many of our classes are online.
Though the upcoming events of 2021 may seem uncertain, there are a few steps you can take to work towards a better future. First, you can join the fight against xenophobia and racism. A few ways you can do this include learning about other cultures and standing up against hate speech. Second, continue to follow COVID-19 regulations. You may have heard this a million times before, but always wear a mask and make sure to stay six feet apart. There has also been news about the new vaccine, but it doesn’t mean that everything is back to normal just yet.
While it’s true that this is the reality we live in today, it is certainly not the end of the world, as some may say. The truth is, it’s only the beginning for all of us, especially for our generation. With the kickoff of 2021, we are all given the motivation to start afresh and keep going at it. In fact, because of the challenges that 2020 has offered us, we are now readier than ever to face the unknown.
For more information about COVID-19, click here.